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Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume XII, Part II (1899)

Jones, Edward D.
Chartism -- a chapter in English industrial history,   pp. [509]-529 PDF (6.3 MB)


Page 524


Jones- Chartism.
Special constables to the number of about 150,000 were
sworn in. The parapets of the Bank of England were fortified
with sand bags, and detachments of the regular army were
placed behind them.
  When the fated tenth arrived the Chartist leaders met at nine
o'clock in the morning, in the rooms of the Literary and Scien-
tific Institute, Fitzroy Square. Many wore in their hats
cockades of red, white, and green ribbon, the Chartist colors.
The crowd that naturally assembled in Fitzroy Square, before
proceeding to the appointed meeting place, was addressed by
Chartist speakers. O'Connor, the acknowledged head of the
movement and the one always depended upon for fire and
enthusiasm, was loudly called for. On this occasion, to the
surprise of everybody, he took up much of his time explaining
that he was really unwell, and had a doctor's certificate which
would entitle him to stay at home. He urged the Chartists
not to come into conflict with the authorities, who were armed
to the teeth and who, he said, were thirsting for their blood.
Finally he asked them to forbear for his sake, as he had received
many warning letters to the effect, that the authorities would
first of all fire upon him.' Earnest Jones, of more fiery temper,
followed with a speech in which he expressed much surprise
that at the last minute thev should be counseled to back down.
The crowd was divided in opinion.  Thus, through hesitancy
and disagreement, what might have ended in a revolution did
not even produce au effective mob.
  The officers of the organization repaired to the place of
meeting riding in a highly decorated car. Kennington Common
is south of the Parliament Houses and across the river from
them. They crossed the river, probably by the Vauxhall Bridge,
and carried with them the petition which comprised five huge
bales or bundles of paper. The hundreds of thousands of people
who were summoned from all parts of England did not appear.
Reliable estimates made by army officers placed the number at
from fifteen to twenty thousand. Upon attempting to form for
the procession the leaders were stopped by the police and the
' He promised to worry the government into accepting the charter by
constantly asking questions about it in the House of Commons.
pr- -"qm
524


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